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XFactor Pillow Swap sent & received

One of my favourite swaps on Flickr is the brilliant X Factor pillow swap organised by Tiina. Unlike other swaps you don’t have to commit to taking part in a round and you don’t make for a specific partner, which removes a load of the stress involved.

Instead you make a cushion/pillow to the theme of the round, send a photo in and then after secret voting (which only the Swap Mama knows the results of) you are sent a surprise pillow in the post.

The theme for round 7 was “low volume”. This is the pillow I made..

x-factor pillow swap - "Grass green" 

And this is the one I received. A very witty take on the “low volume” theme by Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads


The really funny thing is that right up until I received the email yesterday from my partner who’d just received my pillow, I hadn’t clicked that I’d actually done a straight swap! So Stephanie both made the pillow for me and received the one I made too!

I’m in awe of Stephanie’s wiggly quilting. It would never turn out that way if I did it!

The next round which is due on 25th January has the theme of log cabin/text, which is rather funny as Stephanie and I have already managed to cover that between us in this round!  Anyone can take part by requesting to join the group on Flickr.

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Hello summer!

This weekend the weather in Cyprus has been significantly warmer, and although it is only the middle of March, it has suddenly felt like summer has arrived. The temperature in the middle of the day today reached 28c, so the summer clothes are back out again and we are once again eating breakfast on our little terrace at the front of the house.

Coincidentally (or not?) our first two visitors of the summer also booked their trips this weekend and I have another three friends who I’m hoping will visit in June. We still have a fairly small social circle here, so it’s lovely having visitors and it also provides much needed impetus to our garden makeover.

Talking of which, we had an extremely productive shopping trip on Saturday, where we bought a barbecue and some garden furniture. We missed out on a second hand barbecue and some furniture last week, but brilliantly our purchases yesterday actually cost us less than we would have paid for the second hand stuff and I prefer it. The furniture will be delivered tomorrow, whilst Jim is on a course at the other end of the island, so I may attempt to assemble it myself…

This weekend also involved the usual things. Cushions…

(This pair are for a BARC raffle next week. The fabric is Joel Dewberry’s Deer Valley in Azure)
(This one is my husband’s special request made from fabric he brought back from a detachment to Kenya in 2008)
Lunch at the mess in the sunshine…

With the first Brandy Sours of the summer…

And taking excitable dogs to the beach…

Hope you also had a good weekend wherever you are…

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This weekend

This weekend the British forces Animal Rehoming Centre near us held a clean-up morning. One way or another we are becoming quite involved with BARC. Our neighbour Laura works there, Jim has just taken on a role as vice-chair of the committee, and of course it’s where Bella came from.

So we spent Saturday morning doing a very small part and helping out with the clean-up. I was assigned the job of painting part of the cattery and befriended a lovely cat called Trio, who helpfully decided to sit on me whilst I was doing the painting.

A visit to BARC also provides the opportunity to stock on some home made jam which is sold to raise funds.

Presentation really is everything isn’t it? I love the label on this and its little fabric hat. I should also give a nod to my wonderful ‘Nifty Fifty’ Canon lens which I used to take this photo. I confess I had it for many months without fully grasping its capabilities, but now I have been introduced to the finer points of bokeh, it has turned into an essential bit of kit.

I also had a craft swap this weekend. The aforementioned Laura took a shine to my cushions last weekend, so we struck a deal, she got her own…

And in return I got one of Laura’s lovely mosaic pieces…

I only realised after we did the swap just how appropriate it was to swap patchwork for mosaic, both of them being the art of reusing leftovers to create a new piece.

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A busy weekend…

This weekend I made cushions. The first one on Saturday, the second one on Sunday. In between I spoke to my mum and told her what I was working on. She said “Did you back the front and put a zip in?” and instantly I regretted short-cutting. So I made the second one today with backing and a zip.  I now have a pair of subtly non-identical cushions. One with a mother’s influence, one without.

We also had another gift of lemons, some as big as grapefruit and all with stalks and leaves attached; beautifully fresh. Jim came home from work on Friday with a carrier bag straining under their weight and a freshly printed recipe for lemon cake…

It was delicious.

The best lemon-related idea I could suggest was more lemonade… We’re are drowning under the stuff. A bottle will accompany each of us to our workplaces tomorrow…

And of course, we took the dogs for a couple of long walks. In Cyprus, dogs are banned from beaches, but each municipality is legally required to designate a dog friendly beach in their area. Although this has been a legal obligation since 2003, only one local council (Ayia Napa) has actually nominated a beach.

So we’ll keep our side of the deal, when they keep theirs….

Call in back for the competition winner tomorrow night…

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